NHL Trade Deadline Profile: Rickard Rakell
Four seasons ago, Rickard Rakell was a cornerstone piece of a serious Stanley Cup contender; the 23-year old leading goal-scorer of the Anaheim Ducks on a sweetheart contract who seemed primed to become one of the league’s top snipers.
It’s been all downhill from there for everyone involved. Now with only one year remaining on that deal and the Ducks floundering near the bottom of the standings once again, he has emerged as one of the most coveted targets at the 2021 trade deadline as an affordable and still fairly young scoring winger. The price to acquire him appears to be relatively high - a first-round pick and a great prospect, for starters -- and the Ducks will be well-served to ride out the bidding war and help their rebuild any way they can.
But does Rakell warrant this much attention? Is he still the player he was when the Ducks came within two games of competing in the Stanley Cup Final or has he fallen off?
Like other top wingers on the trade market this year, Rakell has struggled immensely and uncharacteristically to put pucks in the net lately. He, Kyle Palmieri (traded to the New York Islanders), Brett Connolly (traded to the Chicago Blackhawks), have each put up horrible shooting percentages this season that have seriously diminished their counting stats.
One critical distinction remains between Rakell and those others. Because unlike their sudden anomalous drop-offs, Rakell’s finishing futility is part of a worrying downward trend that betrays his efficacy as a player.
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